By Paul Brady
February 12, 2020
Courtesy of Explora El Chaltén

Sometimes, a picture really is worth a thousand words. At the forthcoming Explora El Chaltén, guests will be able to wake up in one of 20 rooms, step up to their windows, and take absolutely breathtaking (and jealousy-inducing) photos of the snow-covered peaks of Patagonia’s Los Huemules Natural Reserve without even stepping outside.

Not that they’ll want to stay indoors. This new lodge, slated to open in October, will put travelers in the heart of a more than 14,000-acre privately held tract of land, with hiking trails, rock climbing routes, and expeditions to nearby glaciers. (In some seasons, they’ll even offer ice climbing.) Guests get access to 15 miles of marked trails within Los Huemules, and they’ll also be within reach of the trails and monumental ice floes of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, or Glaciers National Park, on the border with Chile and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s without a doubt one of South America’s most epic attractions.

Courtesy of Explora El Chaltén

Explora El Chaltén follows the model of six other Explora lodges across Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru: Stays are fully all-inclusive, with accommodations, all food and drinks, as well as most activities included, so you don’t have to worry about getting nickel-and-dimed on certain treks or experiences. (A few of the available expeditions at El Chaltén will come at extra cost, like “a full-day exploration to Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate. [Which] includes transfers, time spent with gauchos, lunch, and navigating by vessel in front of the Perito Moreno glacier, all in the company of an expert guide,” Explora says.) The overall vibe is one more focused on the experiences outside the lodge than the amenities within — not to mention the preservation of this fragile environment.

“Explora’s evolution has always originated in the protection of the destinations in which we operate,” says Juan Marambio, the brand’s sustainability manager. “Our newest hotel in El Chaltén is located in the Los Huemules Natural Reserve, and Explora is a significant stakeholder in the reserve. The 5,800-hectare area is exclusively dedicated to the conservation of the natural and cultural heritage of the region.”

That includes the construction process, Marambio says. “Explora relocated all the trees [on the] building site and replanted them in another section of the reserve. The construction itself is minimally invasive, with building parts created near the site. Naturally, Explora reduces the use of plastic to a minimum. Finally, our travel ethos revolves around the company’s signature explorations.”

That said, the lodge itself deserves a mention. The property will be built in what Explora calls “the classical style of ancient Patagonian estancias.” Renderings show lots of blonde wood and dark accents, with picture windows onto the stunning landscapes of this corner of Southern Argentina. There will be three suites and 17 guestrooms, all with Jacuzzi-style tubs; kids will be welcome at the lodge, with rollaway beds and even cribs available. A 1,300-square-foot spa, a bar, and a full-service restaurant with an Argentinean menu round out the amenities.

Courtesy of Explora El Chaltén

Rates will start at $2,190 per person for a three-night stay or $2,883 for four nights. That includes just about everything on site plus “round-trip transfers to El Calafate International Airport as well as hotels in Calafate,” Explora says. Not bad for those billion-dollar views.

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